Kuwait, Feb 17, 2013: Korea’s KANG Dongsoo was the sensation of the third day of play, Saturday 16th February, at the ITTF 2013 World Tour Kuwait Open.
The 18 year old defensive player overcame the vastly more experienced Singaporean, ZHAN Jian in the opening round in a full distance seven games duel (8-11, 13-11, 4-11, 10-12, 11-4, 11-4, 11-5), before causing one of the year’s biggest upsets. In round two, he accounted for China’s FANG Bo, the Men’s Singles winner in January on the ITTF World Tour in Austria, in a similar tension packed encounter (8-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-8, 11-7).
Even more remarkable is that it is only his second career ITTF World Tour tournament; his debut was on home soil in Korea in June 2012 when he didn’t win a single match!
Defeat for FANG Bo but for the other leading names in action, third round places were booked; although there was a major scare for the reigning Olympic and World champion, China’s ZHANG Jike, the no.2 seed in the Men’s Singles event in Kuwait.
He was extended the full seven games distance by Hong Kong’s WONG Chun Ting, a player who had qualified for the main draw by good fortune; he was one of two “Lucky Losers” to be awarded a second stage place and he nearly caused a sensation.
ZHANG Jike, succeeded by the minimal two point margin in the deciding game (7-11, 11-9, 7-11, 10-12, 11-3, 11-8, 12-10); the first round negotiated, the Chinese star duly progressed in round two in a rather more comfortable fashion. He beat Austria’s Daniel HABESOHN in four straight games (11-4, 13-11, 11-5, 12-10); somewhat ironically Daniel HABESOHN had beaten KANG Dongsoo one day earlier in the qualification stage of the event (11-5, 11-5, 9-11, 11-13, 14-12, 6-11, 11-9).
Problems for ZHANG Jike but for the other leading names in the Men’s and Women’s Singles events, there were no great difficulties booking third round places.
XU Xin, the top seed, accounted for Korea’s SEO Hyundeok in his second round contest (11-7, 14-12, 11-8, 11-6); whilst Chinese National Team colleague, MA Long, the no.3 seed and WANG Hao, the no.4 seed, also posted impressive second round wins.
MA Long beat Russia’s Alexey LIVENTSOV (12-10, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7); WANG Hao ended the progress of Canada’s Eugene WANG (9-11, 13-11, 11-8, 11-8, 10-12, 11-9).
Meanwhile, in the Women’s Singles event, where just one round was completed on the third day of play, the top four seeds all enjoyed success.
China’s DING Ning, the no.1 seed, accounted for Japan’s Misaki MOROZONO (11-8, 11-8, 11-5, 12-10), colleague LIU Shiwen, the no.2 seed, defeated Korea’s LEE Eunhee (12-10, 7-11, 11-3, 11-7, 11-7) and LI Xiaoxia, also from China, ended the hopes of Ukraine’s Tetyana BILENKO (11-9, 11-4, 8-11, 11-4, 11-7).
Not to be outdone, Singapore’s FENG Tianwei, the no.4 seed, booked her place in the third round by overcoming Korea’s KANG Misoon (11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-13, 11-8). —- ITTF/ Photo: Constantin Witt-Dorring